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Summary

  1. F1 Rewind on BBC Two - click play tab at top of this page
  2. Rosberg fastest in second practice, Hamilton 2nd
  3. Rosberg suffers violent tyre failure
  4. Ericsson crashes heavily

Live Reporting

By Gary Rose

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Post update

    Martin brundle

    Right then, time for me to wrap things up here but it is by no means the end of your F1 following day. You can still watch some classic Michael Schumacher races in F1 Rewind on the top of this page (live coverage tab for mobile users) or on BBC Two.

    We'll be back with final practice coverage tomorrow at 09:30 BST. 

    I'm off to indulge in some classic Murray Walker commentary, I suggest you do to!

  2. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton, speaking to BBC Sport about Nico Rosberg's incident:  "It is not something you have to think about. You just go out and drive and hope for the best. No evidence of problems with my car, fortunately Nico was not hurt.

    "The car was feeling good. Nico was quick but otherwise I really enjoyed the day. I'll try and find the time and keep pushing.

    "Red Bull are looking closer this weekend than they have for a while, so should be close."

  3. Post update

    Nico Rosberg

    In case you missed it, you can see the dramatic moment Nico Rosberg's tyre exploded here.

  4. Get involved #bbcf1

  5. Post update

    Quote Message: "It was not a nice experience. A 360 degree spin at 200mph is not something you expect at all. Luckily I did not hit the wall. I didn't feel anything before, there was no warning. There will be a big analysis. I was feeling quick before then, comfortable." from Nico Rosberg
    Nico Rosberg
  6. Post update

    We could see in replays that Nico Rosberg's right rear suffered tyre delamination before it exploded, but when our man Tom Clarkson informed the German, it appeared it was the first he knew about that happening.

    Think that is a signal to get BBC Sport on in the Mercedes garage...

  7. Post update

    Quote Message: "I think an F1 driver's mind is like an etch-a-sketch. They just wipe away these incidents. Nico Rosberg will have no emotion to it at all. If he did, he would not get back in a race car." from David Coulthard BBC F1 commentator
    David CoulthardBBC F1 commentator
  8. Get involved #bbcf1

  9. FP2 result

    1) Rosberg 2) Hamilton 3) Ricciardo 4) Kvyat 5) Raikkonen 6) Hulkenberg 7) Grosjean 8) Ericsson 9) Nasr 10) Vettel 

    11) Perez 12) Sainz 13) Verstappen 14) Bottas 15) Maldonado 16) Massa 17) Button 18) Alonso 19) Stevens 20) Merhi

  10. Post update

    Quote Message: "If you can hear me, which I doubt, we lost all the power." from Romain Grosjean
    Romain Grosjean
  11. Post update

    Romain Grosjean comes to a halt on the track as the chequered flag is waved and his fellow F1 drivers crawl past his Lotus with the yellow flags waving.

  12. Chequered flag

    NICO ROSBERG FINISHES FASTEST IN SECOND PRACTICE FOR THE BELGIAN GRAND PRIX.

  13. Yellow flag

    Spark-tastic as Daniel Ricciardo runs a little wide at the top of Eau Rouge, prompting a brief flutter of the yellow flags.

  14. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    "Lewis Hamilton is not on any sort of long run idea with that medium tyre, he will get one lap and that is it. Sebastian Vettel is continuing his longish run."

  15. Post update

    A little while after the rest, Lewis Hamilton heads on out, medium tyres bolted on.

  16. Go! Go! Go!

    Back under way again as a parade of cars file out on to the circuit with a little over four minutes of the session remaining. Everyone on softs, except for Kimi Raikkonen.

  17. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer at Spa

    "Pictures prove cord of Rosberg's right rear tyre had started to come free of the structure from just after Eau Rouge."

  18. Post update

    It was indeed quite hard, with an audible 'doof!' as the Sauber clatters into the tyres. Marcus Ericsson is OK, though, as he climbs out of the car and watches on as it is dealt with.

    Sauber
  19. Post update

  20. Sauber team radio

    Quote Message: Er, in the wall. Quite hard. Sorry. from Marcus Ericsson
    Marcus Ericsson
  21. Red flag

    A short-lived restart as the red flags are waved with Marcus Ericsson's Sauber in the wall at Pouhon.

    "I hit the wall, sorry," he says.

  22. Go! Go! Go!

    OK, the circuit is clear again and everyone quickly heads back out on to the circuit with 13 minutes left. 

    Lewis Hamilton, for now, does not head out. Mercedes perhaps keen to establish what happened to Nico Rosberg before sending the Briton back out.

  23. Post update

    A bit more from Nico Rosberg about that incident: "I think the tyre broke on the rear but I am not sure. 

    "Let us wait and see but I was at maximum speed so that is not good. There was no debris. I had it happen before in testing."

  24. Post update

    "That was definitely not fun," says Nico Rosberg calmly as he walks back to the Mercedes garage.

    King of the understatement right there.

    tyre
  25. Post update

  26. Post update

    Mercedes engineer

    Nico Rosberg is up and out of his car, which is then lifted up on to the recovery truck. The German waves to the crowd, assuring them he is a-ok. 

    Breathe easy.

  27. Post update

    James Allen

    BBC Radio 5 live F1 commentator

    Nico Rosberg

    "That was a scary, heart-in the mouth moment for Nico Rosberg. I hope his wife was not watching back home."

  28. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    Nico Rosberg

    "He spun round and thankfully there was a huge amount of run-off area but that was a heart stopping moment for Nico Rosberg."

  29. Post update

    Wow! Dramatic scenes as Nico Rosberg's right-rear explodes approaching Blanchimont. The Mercedes spins, but thankfully manages to avoid the barrier. Rosberg is OK.

  30. Red flag

    Spin for Nico Rosberg and the session is stopped...

  31. Post update

    Nico Rosberg was lapping in the mid-1:54s but his times are dropping off a bit now, his latest a 1:56.765.

  32. Post update

    Jennie Gow

    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

    "I am stood by the Williams garage. They have been doing some setup changes to Felipe Massa car and both now have the same rear-wing set up."

  33. Post update

    Interesting to see the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa way down the timesheet - 14th and 16th respectively. Jennie Gow has popped over to their garage to see what's going on...

  34. Post update

    Heading into the final 30 minutes of the session and teams are either preparing for, or have already started, their race simulation runs. 

     "Target lap time is low 1:54s," comes the message from the Mercedes pitwall.

  35. Post update

    Sauber have called Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr in after their low fuel runs. Pastor Maldonado is also told to box because of a problem with the front left brake caliper on his Lotus.

    Nico Rosberg's 1:49.385 is still the benchmark, will someone beat Lewis Hamilton's timesheet topping 1:49.189 from 2014?

  36. Movement from Maldonado

  37. Post update

    Romain Grosjean goes fourth fastest, putting him behind Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. 

    Two Saubers have the fifth and sixth fastest times, with Marcus Ericsson ahead of team-mate Felipe Nasr.

  38. Post update

  39. Post update

    Pastor Maldonado, meanwhile, has been out and 1:53.981 and completed a time lap in the now repaired Lotus. He doesn't look entirely comfortable, though, running wide at Turn 15, a corner that also causes Max Verstappen a little bit of bother soon after.

  40. Post update

    Rosberg

    Half the field are on the yellow-walled soft tyres as Nico Rosberg improves further with 1:49.385. He is three tenths of a second ahead of Lewis Hamilton, with four-time Belgian GP winner Kimi Raikkonen third and Marcus Ericsson fourth. 

    Just over 50 minutes of the session left.

  41. Low-flying hazards

    bird poo on camera

    Marcus Ericsson's quick lap was done despite a pesky bird dropping an, ahem, deposit on to his car. Luckily it appears to have ended up on the camera, rather than his visor.

  42. Post update

    Marcus Ericsson is up into P1 but only for a second as Nico Rosberg's first run on the softs sees him become the first driver this weekend to dip below 1:50, posting a 1:49.385.

  43. Post update

    Nico Rosberg and Marcus Ericsson follow Sebastian Vettel's lead by switching to softs.

  44. Post update

    Sebastian Vettel straps on the soft compound tyres and storms to the top of the timesheet with a 1:50.940.

    Meanwhile, stewards announce that they are investigating an incident between Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean at Turn 18.

  45. Post update

    James Allen

    BBC Radio 5 live F1 commentator

    Quote Message: Fifteen years in a row we've had some rain at some point across the Belgian GP weekend.
  46. Post update

    Felipe Nasr

    Crikey! Even my stomach knotted as Felipe Nasr jumps on the brakes to avoid a collision in the pitlane as Daniil Kvyat's Red Bull is released early. A collective 'wooah!' from the BBC commentary box, but a good save by Nasr.

  47. Post update

    The Red Bulls are splitting the Mercedes at the moment as Daniel Ricciardo's first flyer of 1:51.080 sees him jump into P2.

    Meanwhile, Pastor Maldonado is trapped into his seat and waiting patiently to be released...

  48. How low can you go?

  49. Post update

    Twenty minutes into the session and everyone has been out apart from Pastor Maldonado. How long before Lotus get him out?

  50. Post update

    Nico Rosberg slots into P2 with his first timed effort, a 1:51.082, with Lewis Hamilton 0.288s slower and he goes third fastest.

    Rosberg then improves slightly to go fastest of all with 1:51.052.

  51. Post update

  52. Pastor in the naughty corner?

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    “As you will know if you were watching first practice, Pastor Maldonado had a crash. I know, what a surprise.

    "Anyway, the car was quite badly damaged in the off, in which he collided with the wall having lost control on the exit of Malmedy. The right-hand side was quite badly damaged and consequently was not ready for the start of the session. 

    "Team-mate Romain Grosjean, meanwhile, is running a new front wing design on his car. There is only one. Maldonado was not allowed to use it in the morning.”

  53. Post update

    Sebastian Vettel sets the very early pace with a 1:52.606, a time that unsurprisingly does not last long as the benchmark, with Daniil Kvyat posting a 1:51.135 to top the pile.

  54. Post update

    Romain Grosjean is about to be sent out with a new front wing on his Lotus.

    Hmmm. I wonder why Pastor Maldonado din't get to run with this morning...

  55. Post update

  56. Post update

  57. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer at Spa

    “Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel headed off on his summer break after his second victory of the season in Hungary saying his title hopes had never been over, although he did add that he would ‘try to make the impossible possible’. 

    "Three and a bit weeks to think about it has not made him any more confident. ‘If you look at the maths,’ he said earlier this week, ‘I don't think it takes a genius to see how many points we can still score and how many points we are behind. But for sure we also know that being realistic that it will be difficult. 

    "'If we have the opportunity to turn things around like in Hungary then we have to go for it. If we have the opportunity and we don't use it then it's down to us and our mistake. But if you look at the races so far, we had two opportunities that we used. But the advantage is still there. It doesn't just disappear.’”    

  58. Post update

    Felipe Massa heads out to give his Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas some company on track. 

    Roberto Merhi and Hungarian GP winner Sebastian Vettel are also out.

  59. Laundry museum and lots of chips

    Formula 1

    Spa-Francorchamps. The undulating circuit is the longest on the F1 calendar, with famous corners such as Eau Rouge, Pouhon and Blanchimont providing some of the toughest tests of the year for both drivers and engineers.  

    Just looking at the above photo, you can see why it is a popular destination for fans. Well, it is either the scenery or the Laundry Museum...

    You can read about that, and some more pertinent Belgian GP stats here.

    Belgium
  60. Go! Go! Go!

    Weather

    The track is open and Valtteri Bottas, who had been mooted as a potential Kimi Raikkonen replacement at Ferrari, is straight out. 

  61. Sunny, but a tad breezy

  62. Post update

  63. Winging it

    Mercedes

    They may be the quickest team in F1, but Mercedes are not sitting on their hands and were showing off their new curved rear wing in first practice.

    Aside from looking very swish indeed it is designed to reduce drag, making it suited for low downforce circuits such as Spa & Monza.

    I wonder what the technical name for the design is?

  64. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer at Spa

    "A bit more on Red Bull. Engine partner Renault is planning a major upgrade later in the year, which has been tentatively pencilled in for the Russian Grand Prix in October. 

    "The engine is showing promise on the dynomometer at the Renault factory near Paris and Daniel Ricciardo says it should provide a decent step forward. ‘If we gain everything we should it should put us in a good position,’ he said. ‘You’d think it would put us comfortably alongside Ferrari. But even on the dyno sometimes you think it can be something and on the track it can be something else. I’ll always downplay it a bit because I’d rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed. It could be very big turning point in our season. I guess time will tell for now.’ 

    "Word on the street is that the upgrade could be worth in the region of 0.15-0.2secs a lap.’”

  65. Get involved #bbcf1

    It might not be his birthday but Kimi Raikkonen certainly got a nice gift this week with the news that Ferrari are retaining him for 2016.

    Is it the right move, or would you have preferred to have seen someone else get the seat next year?

    Let us know via #bbcf1, text in on 81111 (UK only) and post a comment on the BBC Sport Facebook page.

  66. Happy birthday Felipe!

    It is a special birthday for Felipe Nasr the Sauber driver turns the grand old age of 23. 

    Glad to see you are never too old for a tiny F1 car on top of your birthday cake...

    View more on twitter
  67. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer at Spa

    “By their own lofty standards, Red Bull did not have a great start to the season, and even team principal Christian Horner admitted a couple of months ago that this year’s RB11 was ‘far from perfect’. 

    "However, an upgrade at Silverstone has transformed the car and it now looks, in terms of chassis, a match for the Mercedes. Talking about their two-three finish in the last race in Hungary, Daniel Ricciardo said on Thursday: ‘We know the lack of power but there have been times this year when we felt the chassis has been under-performing as well. But we felt in Budapest if we got it in the sweet spot it was back to where it was last year. It’s a very strong car. Our understanding of where the sweet spot is is a lot better and I have confidence now we will find it more often than not.’ 

    "Despite running a very skinny rear wing to maximise speed on the straights as a result of the Renault’s power deficit, that form has continued here. Ricciardo was third fastest in P1 and the quickest car through the speed trap at the exit of Stavelot.”

  68. FP1 catch-up

    Pastor Maldonado

    As we have already established, Pastor Maldonado provided the morning's drama in an otherwise quiet session by reacquainting himself with the barriers. 

    Meanwhile, Mercedes picked up from where they left off before the summer break by topping the timesheet, Nico Rosberg two tenths quicker than Lewis Hamilton.

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was the best of the rest with the third fastest time.

    Watch highlights from FP1 here.

  69. Post update

    Welcome back! Or hello if you are just joining us. 

    Second practice gets under way at 13:00 BST and in around 10 minutes, Lee McKenzie and the rest of the gang will be on BBC Two (you can also watch at the top of this page, or via the live coverage tab mobile users).

    First up, a quick reminder of what happened this morning...

  70. Post update

    Croissants and spanners
    Image caption: None of these (L), but plenty of these (R) for Lotus mechanics

    That imaginary waffling (pun intended) in my previous entry is exactly how I like to think the conversation between Lotus mechanics went when Pastor Maldonado planted his car into the barrier during first practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.

    Lunch cancelled, and instead more time spent trying to knock Maldonado's E23 back into shape, but have they managed to repair the damage in time for FP2?

  71. Spare a thought for the Lotus mechanics

    Lotus

    "I think I'm going to go for the croissants today, the ones with choclate and icing sprinkled on top."

    "Waffles for me Dave, we are in Belgium after all. Might even sit outside and enjoy the view of the Ardennes."

    "Good shout, I think I'll...hang on is that...no..."

    "Dammit Pastor!"

  72. Post update

    Right then, time for us to scoot off for a quick bite to eat, a coffee and possibly a power nap. 

    We'll be back for coverage of FP2 right here from 12:30 BST. See you then!

  73. "A lot of bad days"

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst

    "Lotus will get the car back out for FP2 but what Pasto crashing does do is it takes time out of a team that needs every single lap they can and every point they can in a season.

    "He has won a grand prix, so when he does have a good day it is a good day, the problem is there are a lot of bad days in-between."

  74. Post update

    The two Mercedes topping practice and Pastor Maldonado crashing...

    ...welcome back F1!

  75. Post update

    Two tenths of a second between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at the top of the timesheet, and a good session for Kimi Raikkonen. 

    Fresh from getting confirmation of another year at Ferrari, the Finn was fourth fastest on a circuit he historically does well on, having claimed four wins at Spa.

  76. Post update

  77. First practice result

    1) Rosberg 2) Hamilton 3) Ricciardo 4) Raikkonen 5) Vettel 6) Kvyat 7) Verstappen 8) Sainz 9) Perez 10) Bottas

    11) Maldonado 12) Hulkenberg 13) Nasr 14) Massa 15) Ericsson 16) Alonso 17) Palmer 18) Button 19) Stevens 20) Merhi

  78. Chequered flag

    NICO ROSBERG FINISHES FASTEST IN FIRST PRACTICE FOR THE BELGIAN GRAND PRIX.

  79. Post update

    Everyone bar Pastor is out on the track to squeeze a little bit more out with a couple more minutes left. Nico Rosberg set to top the first practice session in Belgium this weekend...

  80. Post update

  81. Post update

    sad car :(

    Pastor Maldonado's Lotus here looks not too dissimilar to the Delorean from Back to the Future when taking off.

    It is back in the Lotus garage as the team work on getting the damage fixed asap and get him back out for the second session.

  82. Post update

  83. Ten mins to go

    Into the final 10 minutes of this session and the top of the order currently looks like this:

    1) Nico Rosberg 2) Lewis Hamilton 3) Daniel Ricciardo 4) Kimi Raikkonen 5) Sebastian Vettel 6) Daniil Kvyat 7) Max Verstappen 8) Carlos Sainz 9) Sergio Perez 10) Valtteri Bottas

  84. Post update

    Fernando Alonso hasn't had much running today. He is out on the circuit at the moment to complete his ninth lap and improves with a 1:53.502, but it is only the 14th fastest time so far.

  85. Has Maldonado crashed today?

    http://hasmaldonadocrashedtoday.com/

    Good work guys!

  86. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton improves with a 1:51.324 but it doesn't knock Nico Rosberg off his perch. The German's time is two tenths faster than his team-mate's best effort.

  87. Get involved #bbcf1

    Would bookies even bother? Giving money away.

  88. Rosberg rises

    Nico Rosberg is fastest of all through the first sector...he keeps it up for the remainder of his lap and shoots into P1 with a 1:51.200.

  89. Go! Go! Go!

    new wing rosberg

    And the track is open again. Cars stream out, among them Nico Rosberg who will be itching for plenty of time on the circuit over the next 30 minutes. Just five laps completed so far.

    A good shot here of Mercedes's sculpted low-drag rear-wing. Niceeee.

  90. Post update

    Pastor Maldonado

    Some chaps with staplers (I'm sure it will be more technical than that) have just been out to patch up the barrier Pastor Maldonado made a mess of.

    His Lotus has been whisked away, the debris cleared and the green light is about to pop on again.

  91. Keep up

    It took a while to load as the world seemed to log into http://hasmaldonadocrashedtoday.com/ but they will be disappointed. Even these guys were not expecting Maldonado to crash so quickly...

    http://hasmaldonadocrashedtoday.com/
  92. Post update

    Pastor Maldonado

    Hands up from Pastor Maldonado, taking responsibility for the crash. He lost the back of his Lotus.

    Only took him 50 minutes into the resumption of the season for him to cause a fair few moans in the Lotus garage. Busy day ahead for that lot...

  93. Red flag

    The red flags are being waved, Pastor Maldonado has crashed into a barrier....

  94. Post update

    Nico Rosberg does indeed head back out as he looks to add to the three laps he has under his belt so far. He runs wide at Les Combes.

  95. Post update

    Formula 1

    All smiles in the McLaren garage during that mid-session lull. Shot of espresso there Jenson?

  96. Post update

  97. Post update

    Spa

    Some movement on the circuit again as Pastor Maldonado and Kimi Raikkonen head on out. 

    Maldonado's best of the session so far is a 1:53.668 - 12th fastest time - but he's on a lap now and looking to improve on that.

  98. Wave to the camera

    Wave

    There's a few fans that have made their way to scenic Spa to take in today's action. 

    Here's one little spectator who didn't quite know they were famous for a moment, despite mum's best efforts to point out the camera.

  99. Post update

    Lee McKenzie

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter at Spa

    "I am at McLaren and seeing a lot of work on the left side car, which is what Jenson Button mentioned over team radio. 

    "They are putting the car together and I think Jenson will be out soon. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, is also not in his car and has been working with some of the engineers."

  100. Silence at Spa

    Just over half an hour in and the track falls silent with everyone back in the pits for a debrief with their respective engineers.

    As it stands, Lewis Hamilton has the fastest time of the morning, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo - the 2014 Belgian GP winner - Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Nasr and Kimi Raikkonen.

  101. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer at Spa

    "Honda has an upgraded engine here in Belgium, and very upbeat they have been about it. Boss Yasuhisa Arai made some rather bold claims recently, suggesting the Honda was ‘much better’ than the Renault engine in the last race in Hungary - which no-one in F1 believes is anywhere near the case - and adding that with the upgrade to the combustion chamber for Spa they hoped to be able to match Ferrari. Which would be close to a miracle if it happened. Jenson Button said he would ‘wait and see - you don’t really know until you drive it’. The first indications will come with the speed trap figures in practice. 

    "What is certain about McLaren is that both Button and team-mate Fernando Alonso will start from the back of the grid. The engine upgrade has required three development tokens - and both drivers had already used their maximum allowance. In fact, McLaren plan to use two engines in each car this weekend to increase their depleted pool of race engines. Plus there will be an as-yet-unspecified number of other parts of the engine fitted, which Honda say ‘are not new spec, they are just updated to work with the new spec engine’.”

  102. It's getting hot in here

    "It's getting very hot in the car on the left-hand side," says Jenson Button over the radio.

    Button and Fernando Alonso are set to start Sunday's race at the back of the grid as a result of engine penalties...

  103. Post update

    Great banter Gidders.

  104. Bothersome Belgium

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer at Spa

    “Most drivers love Spa, ranking it if not their favourite circuit, then certainly among them. But not Lewis Hamilton, it seems. He greeted a question on whether it was one of his favourite tracks with a flat ‘no’ in the news conference on Thursday. 

    "He was more expansive in his BBC Sport column, explaining that although he ‘knows he can be quick here… but it has rarely gone that well for me’. 

    "He’s still a little miffed about the win that got away in 2008, too, when he was questionably denied a victory by the stewards following a controversial overtaking manoeuvre on Kimi Raikkonen. 

    "Perhaps a victory this weekend would alter his thinking on the place.”

  105. Post update

    Hamilton

    If Nico Rosberg's mind was on baby matters, it is quickly hooked back to Formula 1 as he complains over the radio that he has lost drive and makes for the pit lane.  

    Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton provides a nice shot for the cameras as he runs off at Turn 7, sending sparks and dust flying into the air.

  106. Hamilton to the top

    Sebastian Vettel

    A beautiful shot as sparks kick up from under Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari at Eau Rouge.

    There's plenty of times on the board and it doesn't take long for Lewis Hamilton to take his place at the top of the timesheet with a 1:51.993.

  107. Post update

    BBC Radio 5 live preview show

    Ben Edwards

    BBC F1 commentator

    “I think there will be more attention on the start because of the new rules. I don’t think it will vastly change things.

    "We have seen plenty of incidents at the start of the Belgian GP over the years, so there will be extra interest in the start.”

  108. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer at Spa

    “Will the changes to the rules on starts make much of a difference this weekend? The drivers could not agree. Sergio Perez felt it was ‘a massive change’, Will Stevens said it would not make much difference and Sebastian Vettel said he ‘didn’t really get the point of what we’re trying to achieve’. The idea is to put the cars more in control of the drivers at the start - but the big change will come next year. For now, the only difference from before is that drivers will not be guided through the settings changes required on the formation lap, and the bite point of the clutch cannot be changed once the car has left the garage ahead of the race. 

    “Jenson Button was especially dismissive of the effect it would have. ‘I’ve heard the starts are really complicated now - we have to think for ourselves,’ he said. ‘I’m scared about that.’ He added: “You’ve just got to have a memory. Normally we get told five seconds before we do something. We’re going to have to be able to remember it for 10 minutes. I think we’ll cope.’

    “Off the line, he said, it would be ‘exactly the same - and that’s the thing that’s going to change next year. that is the area where it will become manual and be down to us with the throttle and clutch paddle trying to control the wheelspin. These days we are just holding the clutch in certain positions. It drives off and whether it wheelspins or under-delivers is not down to you. And when you release the second paddle it is down to you and then you control the wheelspin but you’re already doing 50km/h.’”

  109. Post update

    With a change to the rules kicking in from this race, the start of Sunday's race is potentially going to take on more significance, and Carlos Sainz is the first driver of the day to stop for a full practice start, before heading off and setting the early pace with a 1:54.645.

  110. What's the weather like?

    BBC Weather's Ian Fergusson:  Air temp 18C Track 20.8C; dry & fine throughout. P2 also expected dry/fine/warm."

  111. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton, by the way, has been out for an installation lap, meaning all 20 cars have had an early venture out. 

    Jolyon Palmer is once again in the Lotus as Romain Grosjen sits this session out.

  112. Post update

    Apparently Nico Rosberg has a private jet on standby in case his wife goes into labour. 

    Will he be able to keep his focus on matters on the track? Lewis Hamilton will certainly be hoping not.

  113. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "Nico Rosberg insists he just needs ‘small changes’ to start taking the regular wins he needs to overhaul Lewis Hamilton and win the title. 

    "'Keep pushing the way I have and it just needs to be slightly the other way and that’s it,’ the German said. ‘There were times in the last race I was actually leading the championship. It was very close in the first half of the season and in sport it can go either way. I just need to keep on going like this, keep pushing and winning races and then I believe I can make it happen.’ 

    "The stats don’t back him up, though. Hamilton is nine-one up in qualifying; five-three on wins, which should be six-two given Monaco fell into Rosberg’s lap. That requires a sea-change, not a minimal shift."

  114. Rosberg relaxed?

    Nico Rosberg

    Nico Rosberg's life is very different to the one Lewis Hamilton is living.

    The German is soon to become a dad and has spent his mid-season holiday with his pregnant wife, as well as playing a bit of backgammon.

    It may have looked like a nice, quiet holiday for Rosberg but it seems it was anything but as he prepares for the new arrival.

    "The baby seat is in the Mercedes ML and it took me two hours to put it in there," he said. "It was one of the toughest recent experiences."

  115. Post update

    Nico Rosberg is the first man out on the circuit as his Mercedes team-mate stays in the garage for now. 

    It looks like pretty much everyone else has ventured out for a first run on the circuit.

  116. Get involved #bbcf1

  117. Go! Go! Go!

    Formula 1

    With clear blue skies and mist rolling over the top of the tall trees, Spa is looking positively enchanting this morning as the green lights flick on and the cars roll out on to the circuit.

  118. Reason to celebrate

    Ferrari are celebrating a big landmark this week with this weekend's race their 900th Grand Prix.

    Kimi looks positively delighted...

  119. Get involved #bbcf1

    Ferrari right to retain Raikkonen?

    A bit of a surprise, then, that Ferrari plumped for retaining Kimi Raikkonen. What do you think of the move? The right one? 

    Let us know via #bbcf1, text in on 81111, or post your comment on the BBC Sport Facebook page.

  120. Raikkonen retained

    Kimi Rosberg

    "The big news ahead of the weekend was of course Ferrari’s decision to re-sign Kimi Raikkonen. This has been described in some quarters as ‘a surprise’, but it was nothing of the sort.

    "The team had been exploring other options to see who was out there and had not made their mind up what to do. But with Daniel Ricciardo unavailable and Ferrari unconvinced by Valtteri Bottas, they decided sticking with Raikkonen, despite his slightly wobbly form this year and very wobbly performance last, was the best option. 

    "Raikkonen himself was in one one of his relatively chatty moods on Thursday, saying he was pleased to stay, hopeful that Ferrari can take another step forward in 2016 and enjoyed working with and racing Sebastian Vettel, alongside whom life has been much less uncomfortable than it was against Fernando Alonso in 2014.”

  121. The (almost) 9 o'clock news

    Almost time for FP1 to get under way but just before we do, best we catch up with news from the world of F1, and there has been some pretty big, and possibly surprising, news this week...

  122. Get involved #bbcf1

  123. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "Eau Rouge might be ‘easy flat’ in most cars in the dry these days but the amazing, roller-coaster like swerves are still a huge challenge, taken at close to 200mph. 

    "This year, that challenge has been made slightly harder by the seemingly innocuous addition of a new kerb at Raidillon - the left-hander at the top of the hill that forms the last part of the three corners that are usually incorrectly lumped together when people refer to ‘Eau Rouge’. 

    "Jenson Button said it was a ‘shame’ the left-right-left would only require a lift in the wet, but added: ‘They have put a new kerb, though, which is bit scary on the apex of Turn Four, the left. That makes it harder and if you run a bit wide you don’t want to hit it, you want to go to the left of it rather than over it.’”

  124. Beautiful Belgium

    Eau Rouge

    Ahh, Spa. A circuit full of character and home to some of the best corners in F1.

    Here's the majestic, sweeping uphill beaut that is Eau Rouge. Love it.

  125. Post update

  126. How to follow

    To fulfil your F1 cravings after its absence for the last couple of weeks, you can watch, listen or read about this weekend's race across the BBC.

    Television coverage of first practice is under way now on BBC Two and online at the top of this page, with 5 live commentary available online also.

    If you are on the way to work and sans ability to watch or listen, then you can follow the action in written form right here.

  127. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    Formula 1

    “A year ago, Spa proved to be the pivotal race of the championship.

    "Nico Rosberg, leading on points and annoyed by what he saw as Lewis Hamilton getting way with ignoring a team order to let him by at the previous race, tried an over-ambitious move, and took Hamilton out of the race. 

    "The rollocking Rosberg received for that from Mercedes seemed to diminish him, and Hamilton went on an almost unstoppable run that led to the title. 

    "Can Rosberg beat Hamilton this weekend and use the psychological boost of a win on one of the sport’s great circuits to revitalise his campaign? Or will Hamilton further underline his clear superiority so far this year. 

    "There could barely be a better venue to find out.”

  128. Time to go again

    Formula 1

    Hello! Welcome to our coverage of the 11th race on the 2015 Formula 1 calendar - the Belgian Grand Prix.

    Formula 1 downed tools for a couple of weeks, with drivers and team personnel alike getting away for a bit of R&R.

    Now, though, the holidays are over and the serious business returns. 

    What better place to resume the season than at Spa-Francorchamps, scene to a pivotal moment in the Lewis Hamilton-Nico Rosberg title battle last year...

  129. Who will be best prepared?

    The holidays are over, the out-of-office replies removed and the world of F1 has this week made the commute back to the workplace...

    For some, the summer break was a time to really let the hair down...

    Lewis Hamilton

        ...for others, it was about some quality family time...    

    Nico Rosberg

    Two team-mates, very different holidays.

    But whose break has prepared them best for the remainder of the season?